Veterans

March 24, 2012

Las Vegas WASPs of World War II

U.S. Air Force photo, Air Force Museum
WASPs - Women Airforce Service Pilots

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. “” The Women’s Airforce Service Pilots, or WASPs, was an organization that existed from 1942 through 1944, composed of women trained as pilots.

The WASPs began with 28 women, hired for their extensive civilian flight experience. Later applicants went through the same pilot training course as men, except for acrobatics or formation flying. By the program’s end, 1,082 WASPs had earned their pilot wings.

Once qualified, they were assigned as civil service employees at various bases across the US, flying various training and support missions and delivering aircraft from factories to depots and bases for overseas delivery.

The WASP unit at Nellis (then known as Las Vegas Army Air Field) existed from Feb. 25, 1944 until the program ended on Dec. 20, 1944. From an initial group of ten, as many as 25 WASPs were stationed here before the program closed. Although they were civil service employees, they were treated as officers and billeted on base with commissioned Women’s Army Corps officers.

They were formed up into a squadron, later a flight, with Ruth C. Jones from the original group of ten as their “commander.” The unit flew most aircraft here, including the P-39, AT-6, AT-11, TB-26 trainers towing aerial targets, and as B-17 bomber co-pilots on training missions.

In a 1989 interview, Virginia Dulaney Campbell related that while flying a TB-26 and towing a target for B-17 gunnery students, she found out that not all students knew they were supposed to shoot at the target sleeve. One time, after landing back at Las Vegas AAF, a student gunner asked her “what was that white flag doing hanging along behind your airplane?” It turned out he had been shooting at her TB-26.

One WASP was killed in the line of duty. Beverly Jean Moses was the AT-11 copilot on an instrument training flight crew on July 18, 1944. Her flight was diverted to search for a parachute reported near Mt. Charleston, but was not heard from again. A search the next day found her aircraft’s wreckage on the mountainside; Moses, Lt. Frank Smith, the pilot, and 4 other personnel were all killed in the crash.

Margaret “Maggie” Gee was one of just two Chinese-American WASPs. From Berkeley, CA, she was a shipyard welder and draftsman, jobs which helped pay for her flying lessons before she was accepted for flight training in early 1944. After graduating in September, 1944, she was here for little more than 3 months before the WASPs were disbanded.

Under political pressure from various groups, the WASP program was cancelled and all remaining pilots were released effective Dec. 20, 1944. Several married pilots they met here, including Madelon Burcham, who married 1st Lt. Jack Hill, a B-17 pilot and Base Operations Officer. She and Maggie Gee were two of the 300 surviving WASPs who received a Congressional Gold Medal in a Washington, D.C., ceremony on 10 March 2010.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

VA launches online tool to calculate Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits

WASHINGTON — The Veterans Affairs Department Feb. 4 launched a new online tool to make it easier for veterans, service members and family members to calculate their Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits and learn more about VA’s approved colleges, universities and other education and training programs across the country. “We are pleased that Post-9/11 veterans are...
 
 

VA warns of marketing scam

WASHINGTON — The Department of Veterans Affairs recently posted an alert on its Facebook page warning of a marketing scam targeting veterans. A marketing company has purchased telephone numbers that differ by one digit from the VA’s national call center and the GI Bill call center. Callers who misdial and reach the fraudulent numbers will...
 
 
U.S. Air Force photo by Lorenz Crespo

Until they all come home: POWs remember their captivity

U.S. Air Force photo by Lorenz Crespo From left, Carroll Knutson, Gene Ramos, Jack Leaming, former prisoners of war, and Col. Pete Ford, 57th Adversary Tactics Group commander and guest speaker, render a salute during the Natio...
 

 

First Lady announces certification plan for veteran jobs

WASHINGTON, D.C. — First Lady Michelle Obama unveiled the new Information Technology Training and Certification Partnership April 29 to put thousands of service members to work with industry-recognized IT certifications in hand before they leave the military. Obama, who made the announcement at the White House Forum on Military Credentialing and Licensing at the White House,...
 
 
U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Daniel Hughes

Remembering Brig. Gen. William T. Meredith, father of REDHORSE

Official biography photo Brig. Gen. William Thomas “Tom” Meredith NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — Retired U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. William Thomas “Tom” Meredith, died Wednesday, Feb. 20, at the age of 93 following a br...
 
 
U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nadine

Down but not out: wounded warriors visit Creech

U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nadine An Airman from Creech Air Force Base, Nev., talks with a wounded warrior about the MQ-9 Reaper during his visit to the base Jan. 28. The wounded warriors came to Creech as part of a tou...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin